The London Riots, eh?
I think what most people think when posed with such situations is “Why?”. My first thought was a sense of disbelief. Not because of the disastrous scale of it, that came later, but because there didn’t seem to be any clear cause, motivation or reason behind it. This wasn’t a protest that got out of hand, not really. Protesters would try to make their message clear wouldn’t they? Rather, than just breaking things in a cryptic and completely unhelpful way, akin to babies’ crying or the riddles left to ‘help’ heroes find the MacGuffin in lazily plotted adventure films (I mean, why?). Last time I looked, we weren’t in a socially motivated Indiana Jones film. As was widely stated, Footlocker hadn’t stopped EMA.
The next thought that the Telegraph, our Prime Minister (the Right Honourable David Cameron), and every outraged old person within earshot had was that it was motivated by greed. It’s probably very likely that this was a factor in the riots, you don’t steal a laptop just because you’re cross, or as a grand political statement. However, if these people had the attitude that if they wanted something, they’d steal it, wouldn’t they have done this earlier? In a subtler manner? As in, not in broad daylight, in front of CCTV cameras? It jars somewhat, and I think it’s skirting the issue to place it simply on personal self interest, even if they thought they could get away with it.
It has to be more complicated than that. A combination of desperation from poverty, undirected anger at the government and those around them, and mob mentality. I am not saying that people should not be dealt with, rather that the roots of the problems are faced. These riots that weren’t thought out at all. Trumped up charges (16 months for stealing some doughnuts!) will not prevent future problems.